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March 14, 2019

Sky Sports News reporter won legal fight to report address of pitch invader who punched Aston Villa footballer

By Freddy Mayhew

A Sky Sports News reporter won a legal challenge to report the address of the man who ran on the pitch and punched Aston Villa footballer Jack Grealish during a derby match against Birmingham City.

Lawyers for Paul Mitchell, 27, who was jailed for the assault on midfielder Grealish on Sunday, attempted to prevent news outlets from reporting his address for fear of reprisal attacks.

The bid was made under Section 11 of the Contempt of Court Act.

In a submission to Birmingham Magistrates’ Court, Sky’s Rob Dorsett argued that preventing publication of the address was “unnecessary”.

He told Press Gazette: “It was already out there anyway and giving the full address may have prevented reprisals on other people of the same name – the surname is not uncommon in that area.”

Magistrates agreed with Dorsett, sentencing Mitchell, of Cockhill Lane, Rubery, Worcestershire, to 14 weeks and ordering him to pay £350 in costs.

Said Dorsett of the courtroom victory: “Open justice is important and journalists should resist attempts to restrict the press’s freedom to report details from court proceedings.”

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Mitchell’s case was expedited through the courts and he was given a tough sentence as a result of the high-profile nature of the attack, which took place in front of 27,000 fans and was seen on live TV.

He was given a 10-year ban from attending any football match in the UK for ten years and a life ban from Birmingham City’s stadium.

 

Picture: Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

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